“The EU intends to introduce the first set of sanctions against Belarus this week due to the forced landing of Ryanair plane and the arrest of the journalist,” the message said.
According to the message, on Friday, the EU diplomats will ban the Belarusian air carriers to fly in the European air space, as well as take-off and landing at the EU airports. If the EU approves sanctions, they will come into force at midnight on the same day.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of the next week, the EU should discuss the introduction of sanctions against at least seven individuals and an entity. It is reported that this list includes ministers, representatives of the Armed Forces of Belarus, as well as citizens and organizations tied with aviation. The final list is not approved yet.
It is noted that the EU also works on the “targeted economic sanctions”. According to the message, they will concern the export of potassium.
On May 23, the founder of the largest opposition telegram channel of Belarus NEXTA, journalist Roman Pratasevich, was detained in Minsk. The plane with Roman Protasevich on board flew from Athens to Vilnius. Suddenly, the plane gave a distress signal, changed course, and made an emergency landing at the Minsk National Airport. The emergency landing was caused by a mining signal.
The EU stated that the plane of Ryanair Company was forced to land at Minsk Airport due to the actions of the Belarusian military aircraft. CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary stated that the forcible landing of Athens-Vilnius flight in Belarus was highjacking backed by the state.
Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen threatened with sanctions the Belarusian officials responsible for the incident with the plane.
Besides, six U.N. Security Council members - Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, Britain and the United States - condemned on May 26 the interception of a plane by Belarus as “a blatant attack on international civilian aviation safety and European security”.
Ukraine stopped air traffic with Belarus on May 26; on May 29, Ukraine closed its air space for Belarusian planes.